A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1923.
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Egton is a parochial township, formerly in the parish of Lythe. (fn. 1) It contains the small market town of Egton and the hamlet of Egton Bridge, which has a station on the North Yorkshire and Cleveland branch of the North Eastern railway. Westonby, Lealholm and Sletholm in its area were vills in the 12th century, (fn. 2) as were Westonby (Westingby, xiiixv cent.) and Sletholm, the site of which is not known, in 1284–5 (fn. 3); in 1438–9 the lord of Egton received £10 from the hamlet of Westonby, (fn. 4) no longer in existence by 1538. (fn. 5) The name survives in Westonby House, Lodge and Moor. Egton was assessed for the subsidy in 1301–2 (fn. 6) as 'Egton with Leaserigg (Lecerigge), and Westonby and Cocket.' (fn. 7)
The area of the present parish is 18,378 acres, of which 66 acres are covered by water, (fn. 10) 2,005 acres are arable land, 4,621 acres permanent grass, 1,405 acres woods and plantations and the rest moorland. (fn. 11) The cultivated land varies from 300 ft. to 600 ft., the moors from 800 ft. to over 1,000 ft. above ordnance datum, the village of Egton lying at an elevation of about 600 ft.
The subsoil is inferior oolite and middle and upper lias, the soil being very varied. Grosmont is 'the birth-place of the interest now attaching to Cleveland as one of the foremost among the iron-producing districts of the world. In 1836 the first cargo of ironstone from Grosmont . . . was sent by the Whitby Stone Company to the Birtley Iron Company.' (fn. 12) In 1837 the Wylam Iron Company took the royalties of the Marquess of Normanby, and in 1839 commenced operations at Grosmont, and the rest were purchased in about 1845 by Messrs. Losh, Wilson & Bell. (fn. 13) These mines were still worked in 1874, (fn. 14) but are now disused. Grosmont has still slag merchants, quarries and brick manufactures. A field in this district, called in 1636 the Alum Garth, points to Grosmont having been one of the early seats of the alum manufactory. (fn. 15)
Grosmont has a station on the York, Scarborough and Whitby branch of the North Eastern railway. Much of the moorland inclosed in the last sixty years is peaty soil on a stiff clay. (fn. 16) Sir Francis Salvin in about 1546 inclosed 60 acres of the 2,000 acres of the common or waste belonging to his manor of Newbiggin. (fn. 17) An inclosure award for Egton Commons was made in 1854. (fn. 18) The chief crops raised are barley and oats.
The manor of Egton in 1086 measured 4 'leagues' by 2 'leagues,' the pasturable woodland 3 'leagues' by 2 'leagues.' (fn. 19) This woodland district formed a forest appurtenant to the manor of Egton from the 12th to the 16th century, but no later mention of it has been found.
William Earl of Albemarle, who usurped royal authority in the north in the reign of Stephen, is said to have destroyed the vills of Westonby, Lealholm and Sletholm in making a chase. (fn. 20) Like the manor, it was in his hands in the reign of Henry II, as his ward William Fossard, having committed a serious offence against him, had been forced to fly the country (fn. 21); it was in the king's hands from 1180 to 1194, (fn. 22) but later in the reign of Richard I was restored to Joan Fossard, wife of Robert de Turnham. (fn. 23) Henry III in 1222 granted to Peter de Mauley his forest of Egton, as his father-in-law Robert de Turnham had held it in the reign of Richard I. (fn. 24) Sletholm was partly in the forest in 1272. (fn. 25) 'The forest called Egton Wood' is mentioned in 1544, (fn. 26) and is now represented by the East and West Arncliff (fn. 27) Woods and Limber Hill Wood, where Glaisdale Beck joins the River Esk. They are a favourite resort of visitors to Whitby.
Within the bounds of this small forest were several parks, all belonging to the lord of Egton. That of Cocket (Cokewald) is mentioned in 1348, (fn. 28) that of Egton in 1348 and 1378, (fn. 29) and those of Newbiggin, Julian (Gely, xv cent.; Gillye, Jely, xvi cent.; Gilly, xvii-xix cent.) and Butter (Bydwith, xv cent.; Bydwick, Buthe, xvi cent.; Bedwith, xvii cent.) (fn. 30) in 1478, when a chief forester was appointed by the king for these three parks during the minority of Ralph Salvin, lord of Egton. (fn. 31)
Wheeldale Moor, which occupies the south of the parish, belongs to the honour of Pickering. (fn. 32) It is traversed by Bluewath Beck, which becomes Wheeldale Gill, and flows to join Wheeldale Beck (earlier Rutmore Beck), afterwards called the Murk Esk. Lady Hilda (fn. 33) Beck, the Murk Esk and Wheeldale Beck form the eastern and southern boundaries and separate the church of St. Matthew and site of the priory of Grosmont, in Egton parish, from the rest of the village in Whitby parish.
Nothing that can be identified now remains of Grosmont Priory, which stood on the left bank of the Esk, but a fairly clear idea of the arrangement and extent of the buildings may be obtained from the survey made at the Suppression. (fn. 34) The church was apparently an aisleless building measuring 70 ft. by 30 ft. (all the dimensions given are probably external). Besides the high altar there were two altars in the body of the church; there were also sixteen stalls and three windows containing 40 superficial feet of glass, while the roof was 'low' and covered with lead. Upon the south side of the church was a cloister 36 ft. square with walks 7 ft. wide. The eastern range was formed by a building containing on the ground floor the revestry and chapter-house and on the upper floor the dorter, which measured 36 ft. in length (the exact length of the side of the cloister) and 18 ft. in width. On the south side of the cloister was 'the halle,' evidently the frater, 30 ft. long and 18 ft. wide, with the buttery, pantry and kitchen at the 'nether' end, the latter measuring 23 ft. by 18 ft. At the upper end was a 'litle low chamber . . . where they ley their brede' and 'thereby' another 'chamber' 20 ft. long and 12 ft. wide, with 'a goode chymney of stone and ij wyndowes.' Assuming, as was usually the case, that the kitchen, buttery and pantry were at the west end of the frater, this chamber would be at the east end, and consequently immediately to the south of the chapter-house, the position normally occupied by the calefactory or warming-house, with which it may almost certainly be identified. The floor above was occupied by the prior's chamber, which also had a chimney and two windows 'and a little clossett in the same chamber,' and measured 20 ft. in length and 16 ft. in width. It will be seen that while the length agrees with that of the room below, the width is 4 ft. more; the additional space on the ground floor may have been taken up by 'the chamber where they ley their brede' or by a passage to the inner court afterwards noticed in detail. All these buildings are described as of stone 'coveryd w' slate,' i.e., with slate roofs. On the west side of the cloister was the 'hygh halle,' the walls of which were of timber, 20 ft. long and 14 ft. wide. This was probably the guest-hall, and the 'chamber at the upper ende,' 14 ft. by 12 ft., the parlour. At the lower end of the hall were two 'litle chambres,' and below the hall a 'larder-house,' 32 ft. long and 14 ft. wide. The statement in the survey that the hall was 'over the west parte of the cloister' suggests at first sight that the hall overhung the west walk of the cloister. The width of the undercroft, however, which is given as the same as that of the hall above, renders this interpretation unlikely; the phrase 'over,' therefore, more probably refers to the hall being placed on the upper floor. The survey next speaks of 'the olde halle by the courte syde (afterwards called the inner court) wt a chamber at eyther ende . . . xxx foote longe and xviij foote brode.' This court may have been to the south of the claustral block, but the arrangement of the buildings round it cannot be fixed with the same certainty, as their relative position is not clearly given. There can be little doubt, however, that the hall here mentioned was the infirmary. It is described as being 'coveryd wt slates and thak' (thatch), but it is not said whether the walls were of stone or timber. At the end of the building was a two-storied granary with timber-boarded walls, and near by 'a litle overshott water mylne.' The remaining buildings described as standing round this court were 'the brewhouse and bakehouse alle one wt a lytille chamber at one ende . . . xl foote longe and xiiij foote brode, stone walles and coveryd wt slates,' and a range of buildings 100 ft. long and 14 ft. wide containing 'a low parler and a low chamber wt ij chambres over the same, a garnard, a low chamber, alle under one roofe . . . tymber walles coveryd wt slates.' Among the various outbuildings independent of the inner court mention is made of 'a little corrodye house wt a chamber xxiiij longe and xiiij ffoote brode, stone walles coveryd wt thak.' The stables and offices appear to have been of considerable extent, a 'lathe or barne' measuring 80 ft. by 20 ft. and the cowhouse 60 ft. by 16 ft. There was also 'a little rounde dove cote of mudde walles.' The priory buildings generally seem to have been in a bad state at the time of the survey.
North of Egton Bridge is the town of Egton, which consists of one street ascending the slope of a hill, with the site of Egton Hall and the new church of St. Hilda halfway down the hill. The site of the old church of St. Hilda is half a mile to the north-west. In 1269 Henry III granted Peter de Mauley a weekly market on Wednesday for his manor of Egton and a yearly fair on the eve of the feast of St. Hilda in winter and the seven following days. (fn. 38) This market and fair seem to have become disused, and in 1699 and 1700 William III granted to Henry Viscount Longueville and his heirs a weekly market on Tuesday and four yearly fairs (on 24 August, or if Sunday, 25 August, Tuesday before the feast of St. Martin in winter, Tuesday before the Purification of the Virgin, and Tuesday before 1 May). (fn. 39) The market is still held on Tuesday, and there are now eleven fairs held yearly for cattle.
The ancient hall of the Salvins at Newbiggin was the scene of a remarkable affray in the reign of Henry VIII. According to the story (fn. 40) of Anne widow of Sir Ralph Salvin, she was attacked, while hearing mass in the domestic chapel, by Stephen Milner and others, who 'her take by the legges, and so drough and trayllyd her oute of the seyd chappell downe a stayre wyth her hede and dyuers partes of her body knokkyng ageynst the seyd stayre. . . . After that done, the seyd ryotous persons dyd in shamefull and rygorous maner cast the seyd dame Anne ouerthwart apon a horse bakk lyke a sekk, and with roppes and other ingynes dyd bynd her fast vnto the seyd horsse, in suche maner that she shuld neyther move ne styrr to help ne soccour herself.' On the part of the defendant it was urged that dame Anne had promised to marry Stephen, but had broken off the match. Stephen then visited the house with his friends and 'fownd the seid Anne in her chapell at mase, and the seide Stephyn went vnto her and kissed her, and she with her assent and agreement came with hyme quietly and peseably.' Unfortunately the result of the suit is not known. The house, long in ruins, was replaced by 1808 by the present mansion. (fn. 41)
Among ancient names in the parish are Wood Dale (Wlvedale, xiii cent.; Wolfenedaleside, xiv cent.), Shortwaite (fn. 44) (Skirthwayt, xv cent.; Shorsorthsike, Swortwaytside Banks, xvi cent.), Hazelhead (fn. 45) (Hezilheved, xiv cent.), where seven springs furnish part of the Whitby water supply, Lampland (a tenement belonging to Grosmont Priory in 1539), and Grange Farm. (fn. 46)
There are numerous 'howes' and earthworks in the parish, and a stone with a Roman inscription built up in a rude stone wall is now in Whitby Museum. (fn. 47) The ancient road called Wade's Causeway (fn. 48) passed through the parish, and it is thought that there were early bridges over Wheeldale Beck and where the present bridge stands at Grosmont. (fn. 49)
Nearly a third of the population is Roman Catholic. The district was said in 1599 to be 'a bishopric of Papists and Grosmont Abbey the head house.' It was 'notorious for receiving priests and fugitives from beyond sea.' Lord Sheffield of Mulgrave Castle was ordered to besiege it and did so 'with great celerity and secrecy,' but found the inhabitants flown. Ornaments for the mass and 'Popish books' were discovered but nothing else, 'though floors, ceilings, pavements and double walls were broken up and vaults of strange conveyance found out. At the stairhead was a post as thick as a man's body, on which the house seemed to bear, but it was really a removable hinge, locked from beneath, covering a hole at which a man might descend.' (fn. 50) One hundred and sixty-seven persons were presented for recusancy in 1690. (fn. 51) An old Roman Catholic chapel at Egton Bridge was pulled down and a new one, now used as a school, built in 1795. (fn. 52) The present chapel of St. Hedda was erected in 1867.
The Wesleyan chapel at Grosmont was erected in 1890, the public elementary school there in 1855; a public elementary school was built at Egton Bridge in 1867, that at Egton was built by the Messrs. Foster.
In 1086 (fn. 53) the Count of Mortain was overlord of EGTON, where before the Conquest Swen had 3 carucates as a 'manor,' and after his forfeiture the manor was held in chief.
Niel Fossard was under-tenant in 1086, and Egton subsequently descended with Mulgrave (fn. 54) until the death of the seventh Peter de Mauley in 1415, (fn. 55) and afterwards with Newbiggin (fn. 56) until the 17th century. Ralph Salvin of Newbiggin made settlements in 1616 (fn. 57) and 1630, (fn. 58) and by 1686 the manor was in the possession of Henry Lord Grey de Ruthyn, (fn. 59) created Viscount de Longueville in 1690. (fn. 60) Talbot his son and heir, created Earl of Sussex in 1717, (fn. 61) sold the manor for £38,000 to Robert Elwes of Twickenham in 1730. (fn. 62) He made Egton his seat and died in 1752. (fn. 63) His son Cary died in 1782, leaving a son and heir Robert Cary, (fn. 64) father of Cary Charles Elwes, who died in 1866, all lords of Egton. (fn. 65) Cary Charles Elwes was succeeded by his son Valentine Dudley Henry Cary Elwes, (fn. 66) who sold Egton in 1869 to Messrs. Foster of Queensbury. Mr. Kenneth Foster, eldest son of the late Mr. John Foster, is the present owner.
Peter de Mauley and his heirs had a grant of free warren in all their demesne lands of Sletholm, Westonby, Egton and Cocket, 'if they were not within the bounds of the forest,' in February 1253–4. (fn. 67)
The family of Lealholm had lands in Egton. (fn. 68) Lealholm Hall is first mentioned in 1550, when Robert Barmton conveyed it to Marmaduke Clarionett, (fn. 69) who died seised of the 'manor or capital messuage of Lelum Hall,' held of the manor of Egton in 1559, leaving a son and heir William. (fn. 70) Another Marmaduke Clarionett conveyed tenements in Egton to Richard Smith in 1597, (fn. 71) and to Richard Smith, jun., John Smith and William Smith in 1599, (fn. 72) Sir Richard Cholmley having granted tenements in Egton and 'Brigham' Green to Thomas Smith early in 1578–9. (fn. 73) Thomas Smith of Bridge Holme Green and Lealholm Hall suffered sequestration of his estates during the Civil War and his heirs compounded in 1653 (fn. 74); the capital messuage of 'BridgeholmGreen-House' was registered among Papists' estates in the 18th century. (fn. 75) Various members of the family of Smith made a settlement of the 'newly erected capital messuage called Bridgeholm Green,' and a messuage at Lealholm in 1743. (fn. 76) Bridgeholme Green House was removed in 1890, (fn. 77) the Messrs. Foster building in its place Egton Lodge as a shootingbox. The lodge was enlarged in 1913 as a country house by the present owner, Mr. Kenneth Foster.
The Grandimontine priory of GROSMONT (Graunde Monte, Gremounde, Groman, Gromonte, xvi cent.) had its origin in a gift to the priory of Grammont in Normandy made by Joan daughter of William Fossard and wife of Robert de Turnham (fn. 78) and confirmed by her husband in the time of King John. Joan granted to the priory a dwelling-house in the forest of Egton between Egton and Cocket, 200 acres of land, with the woods round their house, the mill of Egton, the sole right of free fishery in the stream and all suits, except the grinding of the corn of the lord's household when he was in the vill. (fn. 79) The new water-mill in Egton was granted to the priory in 1478. (fn. 80) Grosmont Priory was surrendered in 1539 (fn. 81) and in February 1543–4 the king granted the site and all the possessions of the priory in Egton parish (including the water-mill at Egton Bridge, (fn. 82) a fulling-mill and six small woods) to Edmund Wright, a captain in the Scotch wars, (fn. 83) in fee. (fn. 84) Two years later Edmund alienated this property to Sir Richard Cholmley of Whitby, (fn. 85) whose successor Sir Richard in 1632 bequeathed it to his third son Richard, (fn. 86) knighted in 1644, (fn. 87) and a colonel in the service of Charles I. Richard's two daughters and co-heirs Margaret and Ursula married respectively John D'Oyley of Chislehampton and Thomas Putt of Combe Gittisham, both made baronets in 1666. (fn. 88) Sir Thomas Putt, only son of Ursula, died childless in 1721, (fn. 89) and Sir John D'Oyley, son of the first baronet, whose sister married John Saunders, in the spring of 1683–4 exchanged the Grosmont estate with the Saunders family for lands in Oxfordshire. (fn. 90) John Saunders was the owner in 1725 and D'Oyley Saunders had still part of the demesnes in 1808, but the cell and adjoining lands were the property of Richard and Matthew Agar and John Linskill. (fn. 91)
NEWBIGGIN was not called a manor while in the possession of the Fossards (fn. 92) or the Mauleys. On the division of the Mauley lands after 1415 Sir John Salvin, kt., son of Elizabeth second daughter of the sixth. (fn. 93) Peter de Mauley, received among other lands Doncaster in the West Riding, (fn. 94) the 'barony of Egton,' Newbiggin, Isle Park (? Gilly Park) and Cocket (Cuckwold Banks). (fn. 95) John died seised of the manor of Newbiggin and vill of Egton in 1471, leaving a son and heir Thomas. (fn. 96) The Salvins are afterwards returned as tenants of the manor of Newbiggin, where they lived, or of the manor of 'Egton alias Newbiggin'; and although there are now distinct manors of Egton and Newbiggin it seems doubtful that these existed in early times. The Salvins seem merely to have changed the head of the manor from Egton to Newbiggin. Thomas died in 1477, leaving a son and heir Ralph, aged four, (fn. 97) who proved his age in 1494, (fn. 98) was knighted in 1513, (fn. 99) and died in 1534–5, leaving a son and heir George. (fn. 100) George died in 1538, leaving a son and heir Francis, (fn. 101) knighted in 1547. (fn. 102) Francis died in March 1561–2 and was succeeded by his son Ralph, (fn. 103) who died in March 1611–12, leaving a son and heir Ralph, (fn. 104) lord in 1620 (fn. 105) and still in 1623, when he revived the ancient claim of his family to the manor of Doncaster and was bought off by the corporation. (fn. 106) His son William (fn. 107) had succeeded by 1630–1 (fn. 108) and had a son William, aged forty in 1665. (fn. 109) The latter had sons Francis, Thomas and William. (fn. 110) William Salvin of Easingwold, a Papist, registered the manor of Newbiggin and capital messuage as his estates in 1716–17. (fn. 111) He died in 1726 and his son Thomas, also described as of Easingwold, (fn. 112) sold the manor and capital messuage 'in the lordship of Egton' and all quarries, &c., to George Duck of Marske for £4,800 in 1736. (fn. 113) In 1812 it was purchased by Henry Walker Yeoman of Woodlands, owner in 1874. (fn. 114) It is now in the hands of the trustees of the late Venerable Archdeacon Yeoman.
The old church of ST. HILDA stood on high ground on the road to Glaisdale. It was pulled down in 1878 and a cemetery chapel now occupies a portion of the site. The churchyard is still used for burials. The building consisted of a chancel, nave with south aisle, west tower and south porch, but had gone through many changes before the date of its demolition. The pillars, six in number, were of 12th-century date with square bases and abaci, but some of them had been mutilated. The arches were plain with square edges. (fn. 115) The south aisle as it existed before the demolition had been curtailed in width (fn. 116) and the interior had generally been spoiled with plaster and whitewash. An illustration which has been preserved (fn. 117) shows the chancel lighted at the east end by a square-headed sash window and on the south side by square-headed two-light windows with trefoiled lights, apparently of 15th-century date. The porch seems to have been of comparatively late date and the tower terminated in an embattled parapet. Both chancel and nave had low-pitched leaded roofs behind straight parapets, the nave and south aisle being under a roof of single span. Some traces of painting are said to have remained on one of the columns just below the capital. (fn. 118) The font, which consisted of a plain circular bowl and stem and was probably coeval with the arcade, is now at Goathland Church. The churchyard commands a fine view to the south-west along the dale; in it are two mediaeval grave slabs with incised and floreated crosses.
The new church of ST. HILDA, built in 1878–9, consists of chancel with north vestrles, nave with north and south aisles, and tower forming a porch on the south side. The building is of stone with green slated roofs in a mixed Gothic and Norman style. As much as possible the stonework of the old church was used again in the new building, the 12th-century character of which was determined by the re-use of some of the original arcade piers. The nave is of five bays, the three westernmost pillars being those from the old church with modern capitals and bases, (fn. 119) and some voussoirs from the original semicircular arches are built into the arcade. There are also two stones from the former building dated respectively 1663 and 1702. The tower finishes with a slated saddle-back roof and contains three bells, two of which are ancient. The third was given by the parishioners in 1902. A clock was presented by Mr. Abraham Foster in memory of Queen Victoria.
The plate consists of a cup of 1607, made by Robert Casson of York, with modern paten, a cup of 1704, by John Langwith of York, mounted on a new stem, and a modern chalice, paten and flagon of mediaeval design, by Keith & Co., London. (fn. 120)
The registers begin in 1622. (fn. 121)
A papal indulgence was granted in 1291 to penitents who visited the church of St. Hilda at Egton. (fn. 122) This church was only a chapel dependent on the church of Lythe, (fn. 123) and the living is now a new vicarage under the Act of 1868, the Archbishop of York being the patron.
John Oxlee the divine was curate of Egton 1805–11. (fn. 124)
In 1640 Ralph Marshall by deed demised certain closes in Glaisdale, subject to the yearly rent of 40s., to be distributed every year in the proportions of £1 11s. 4d. among the poor of Egton, 6s. 8d. to the poor of Glaisdale and Lealholm, and 2s. to the poor of Ugthorpe. The annuity is received from Mr. Joseph Thomson of Glaisdale and is distributed by the vicar and churchwardens in accordance with the trusts among the poor of the several townships. A customary payment of £1 a year is also made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the benefit of the poor, who also receive £2 2s. a year from the trustees of Alice Gallilee's charity, Whitby, which is distributed in grocery tickets to twelve recipients (see under Whitby).
Ecclesiastical district of Grosmont St. Matthew.— By deed dated 30 July 1850 the sum of £67 0s. 2d. consols was settled for the repairs of the church, and Mary Clark, by will proved 1876, left £222 4s. 6d. consols, the income to be applied for church purposes. The sums of stock are held by the official trustees. The dividends, amounting to £7 4s. 6d., are applied towards cleaning, lighting or otherwise making comfortable St. Matthew's Church.